On April 21, 300 prominent French figures, including former President Nicolas Sarkozy and former Prime Minister Manuel Valls signed a manifesto published in the French daily Le Parisien demanded some parts of the Qur’an, which they claimed have included violence and anti-Semitic references, be removed.French Muslims have condemned the manifesto saying they have “distorted” the Qur’an.
The manifesto generated an immediate outcry among Muslims in France and beyond, with critics labeling its usage of the phrase “low-volume ethnic cleansing” hyperbolic and accusing it of homogenizing all Muslims. Days after the manifesto’s release, 30 imams signed a counter-letter in Le Monde.
The Observatory for Islamophobia, an organization affiliated with the Egyptian government, described the manifesto as “hateful racism” that proves that “France is not a land that welcomes Islam.”
Tareq Oubrou, the prominent French imam who oversees the Grand Mosque of Bordeaux, called the characterization of the Qur’an “nearly blasphemous.” Viewing the scripture as anti-Semitic, he told me, is the falsified interpretation promoted by the very radicals France seeks to combat: “ignorant Muslims who remove texts from their historical context.”
Furthermore, the notion that anti-Semitism is built into Islam is “theologically false,” he added. As monotheistic “People of the Book,” Jews and Christians enjoy a special status in Islamic law.”
The Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs slammed Monday a French proposal to remove some verses from the Qur’an, saying it is “out of line”.
The Directorate issued a written statement blasting the French proposal, which took the form of a manifesto signed by 300 French authors and politicians, saying that the signatories “are the Western versions of Daesh” terrorists, suggesting that they too have distorted Islam.
It said that certain groups in France had started a smear campaign against the holy book of Muslims, rejecting the call as “provocative”.
“It is disrespectful for the group, which adopts this understanding, to propose the removal of some verses from the Quran with an attitude that is out of line,” the statement said, stressing that misinterpreting the Qur’anic verses in a context-free manner cannot be approved, neither scientifically nor morally.
“According to the Qur’an, whatever his/her belief is, human life is valuable, untouchable, and the unjust killing of a human being is like killing all humans, and the survival of a human being is like keeping all the humankind alive.”